We have a winner! It was truly hard to pick a winner this year. There were many good and deserving entries.Cats across Nelson are proving they are genuine eco-warriors in the work they do in suppressing the rodent population and thus benefitting native birdlife.
Stinky the Cat is this year’s winner. A couple of years ago Stinky was a stray, desperate for the warmth and security of a home. She hung around Ricardo Brennan’s house for a while, opportunistically stealing the odd bratwurst sausage till Ricardo took pity and started feeding her. In gratitude Stinky started bringing Ricardo the rodents she caught. A not uncommon phenomenon with cats. Ricardo describes the process:
- Catch rodent.
- Bring inside via any means – windows, doors, anything.
- Make enough noise to alert “The Master” that I have something to play with.
- Proceed to let the rodent go and race “The Master” to catch it.
- Sulk when “The Master” takes the rodent away, or cheat and let the rodent go downstairs where he has no chance of finding it.
- Repeat all steps 3 to 4 times per day or night!
Ricardo describes watching Stinky kill rats. “She is only a small cat but she would flick them up in the air with her mouth and then box them with her paws. I was stunned.
If any mice set up home and are living inside the cat just sniffs them out. She just sits and watches even if it is for half a day. Such a fantastic mouser, and well earns her keep.
In regards to birds, yes she did catch 2-3 blackbirds over the time she was living at my house but she always got told off and no reward. And this year I only found one waxeye. But rodents are more her thing. If she was into catching more birds I would have put some bells on her collar etc as we do get tuis and the next door people use my back section for their chickens at times. Stinky leaves them alone.
Her name? Well she didn’t have a name for a long time and my boarders always called her the stinky beast when she would bring some rodent in.”
Ricardo sent lots of pictures of Stinky the cat and some of the mice she has brought in, often rather bedraggled.
We have two runners-up this year: Norm Begg and Coco Shirley
Megan writes “This is Norm. He is a surprisingly good hunter. Surprising because he really is the clumsiest and uncoordinated cat I’ve ever had the pleasure of getting to know.He frequently misjudges the bench height, falls into the bath, slips off the sink, starts and becomes a furry part of firewood avalanches and there is a dent in the car roof we think he knows something about!He very rarely catches birds. Perhaps he has the good sense to not try his luck high up in trees.
Despite all this he would average 1-2 rats or mice a week. Sometimes as many as one a day, sometimes he doesn’t move from in front of the fire all day. He likes to bring his catch home and give them a tour of the house if possible. We now have the saying “there is a monster in the laundry” which is what anyone who didn’t know there was a cat finishing off his feisty prey would think. Its just Norm though, trying to go through the washing machine, baskets and buckets rather than around them! Its quite the ruckus!”
Tina has words from Coco.
“Hi my name is Coco, I’m 3 years old and came from the SPCA.
I strive to do my part, to improve the Atawhai community, by reducing the rodent population. I take this responsibility very seriously. In summer, I usually bring home either a rat or a mouse everyday. I bring them into the house, because I know my owners love this. It’s fun to play with them, but sometimes they escape and run under the bed or couch, then I have to go out hunting again and find a replacement.
I tend to reduce my work rate in winter, to an average of 3 per week. This is mainly because I am strongly influenced by a winter fire at night. I can often sleep all night in front of the fire, which reduces my effectiveness.
This is a picture of my latest catch, plus a photo of the Christmas tree (yes….it is a live rat at the top).”
Several cats deserve an honourable mention.
Maggi Pepperell is nearly 23, blind and deaf and with such a poor sense of smell she has difficulty finding her plate of food in the kitchen. But a month ago she managed to catch a mouse in the kitchen!
Basil Meer is quite a bit younger at 15 though still qualifies as a geriatric. Basil is on medication for arthritis but still brings in some impressive rats. Owner Paula sent in an impressive photo collage.
Mia Harford is a very active ratter and leaves rat body parts scattered under beds and over the kitchen floor. The photos were too gross too show!
Nutmeg Neilson releases her rats inside.
Owner Tracee sent a great photo of Nutmeg in a Mexican standoff with a really big rat having ‘treed’ it on the back of a chair
Thanks to everyone else who sent in photos and stories.
A certificate and prizes of $300 and $150 in veterinary care or products from Halifax await the winners.